Another Farnes Excursion
Sunday 20th of August and another Farnes trip, I thought I would hide myself ‘up north’ away from the usual last minute questions and panics and forgot about mobile phones. Travelled up in heavy rain and remember thinking ‘I hope this improves for next weekends Farnes diving trip’. We had two nights in Scarborough and three nights in Whitby (great place to go diving). But the further north we went, the better the weather got and it stayed that way for the nine days we were up there, much better than the reports from down south. Then the calls started…
This is what it’s all about – Diving with these gorgeous animals
Firstly Esma phoning to say she was on my ﾒ Scottish tripﾓ , then the bad news that Gren and Sarah couldn’t come due to work ( they were missed ) , tried covering their places but it was to late to find replacements. More questions during the week , some classics, plus other club members members having a domestic. Colin, Sandra and Bo met up with us in Whitby for the Thursday night Dracula walk and I heard that Colin was offered a leading role. Friday morning and the phone doesn’t stop ringing as all the Farnes participants are leaving London on the A1M . After leisurely morning, I finally managed to get Whitby crowd on the road to the Farnes in slow convoy. The plan was to get there before five to collect the caravan keys but by the sound of it most of the divers would be there before us. We eventually arrived at 4.50 after stopping at the Angel of the North for a photo shoot, to find that most of them had sorted there own keys and caravans out. I didn’t know K&E divers were that keen until I realised that they had already started on Cynthia’s gin and the caravans lager and that this was the party caravan (Cynth, Esma, Brian and Jackie, Steve and Mel) for today. Bret seemed to have more than made himself at home there, amongst others, and their noise could be heard all over Seahouses. After severely reprimanding them and setting a good example myself we all adjourned for a Fish and chips supper, served by local Poles, and then washed down by a few beers at the Schooner Inn to await the late arrivals and introduce ourselves to the natives (interpreters needed) whilst playing pool.
Ready to dive with the seals
First days diving, with early 8.30-am start and to my utter amazement everybody was assembled on quay, on time and with all their kit well organised, something’s got to go wrong! Sunshine as well. We were diving with Glad Tidings 7 and the skipper was William Shiel and Duncan. Very good boat taking up to 20 divers and with a lift and some say a dodgy toilet ( I prefer the one at the back). In fact too much room for one of us, he (JR) was asked 4 times whose weight belt it was under everybody’s feet until he realised it was his, plus his snorkel and watch went walkabout round the boat as well. Say no more. Two good dives that day with the seals and the second being in a shallow gully with lots of kelp, with wreckage and large anchor chain lying in 34 metres and going north to south with large boiler lying at about 13 meters at south side with lots of Lobsters, inedible crabs and large shoal of fish round it. Vis. About ten meters. Then thirty minute return to harbour and meet Dive Marshall (Bret) and assistant (Paul E) in the Ship Inn for dive debrief and few beers, followed by raid on Graham (Boycey) and Helen’s caravan to help him drink some of his locked up stash of cheap lager and take some holiday snaps. The evening was spent at the Harbour Inn for a team meal (27 people). Taking over the entire restaurant with the tables set out like a wedding reception and Jim and Stella sitting on the head table (I was waiting for Jim to make a speech). The rest of the evening was spent spotting aeroplanes and local talent (no Karaoke) and Bret adding to his holiday snaps of seals, bums and cleavages for his forthcoming photo album.
Breasts! Well, that’ll send our web hits into the stratosphere
Brian’s a charmer
Second day and still sunshine, who said it always rains up north. 9-am. Start and everybody raring to go, except JR. who had tooth ache and was just going snorkelling, luckily he took his flag with him because he wandered away from the shelter of the rocks and got swept away by fast current and had to be picked up a half a mile away, furiously waving his flag at dive boat and reminding me of the film ﾒCusters last standﾓ Everybody else wanted to do shallow with lots of seals, so we decided to go back to yesterday afternoons site with the wreckage and shallow gully. On arrival there were seals everywhere on the rocks and we did the gully south to north this time and then returned to entry point near wreck through heavy kelp at 34 metres. We dropped down to see the boiler at 12 meters and suddenly a very rapid current picked up and everybody had to get behind boiler for cover and to send up DSMB’s which caught in the current thus having to do a unexpected drift ascent. Same group of divers today except no JR and Helen took Grahams place, She made a more attractive addition to the boat and dive. The more girls on the dive the better, the seals seem to like them more as well, can’t understand why ? Stella celebrated her 200th ( she didn’t say if it was for her birthdays or dives) between dives with a couple of bottles of champers. The seals seemed to be especially playful today in the shallows , nibbling at Brian’s and Helen’s fins and sniffing and licking the back of my hand like a dog. Two dives of 45 minutes plus and only one tank used with lots to see and do and back by 3-pm not bad. Then we all adjourned to our favoured afternoon entertainment, some for a sleep, some in a Jacuzzi for a group bonding session ( I’m told that Colin plus 6 females made it very cosy in there but where his goggles came into it I don’t know) and others went off to find a pub with the Chelsea game on. Eventually ending up back in my caravan to watch the game and empty my fridge, JR. making his usual self at home with a 30 second sandwich when my back was turned and his obligatory trip to the loo. With a growing number of watchers and beer running out I was glad when the game finished with a Chelsea victory, especially as Mary returned to find Paul in her parking space. In the evening some went for a posh meal and some just had take outs and then on to another pub for a few beers and more bonding with the locals, not to late with a early start in the morning.
Monday and last days diving, 8-am. Start, Two different sites today. First a brisk drift dive along a wall with a 20 metre bottom, walls covered with dead men’s fingers, starfish, urchins, with a few seals looking on. Halfway through dive I entered a narrow ravine with my two buddies, Sandra and Cynthia, but the current was to stiff too get out, I noticed Paul E sending up his DSMB for his group and decided to go up his line as well. Up and over ravine wall and enter current again , we continued for ten minutes at six metres with six on line with seals looking on amazed. Back on boat and everybody buzzing about good drift dive as usual. Second dive, keep shallow with seals everywhere and several close-up encounters, Sandra was having a good dive and not wanting to go up even though I’m wet and cold and towing half the North sea around in my old neoprene dry suit which was leaking badly. Rob and Katy were treated on the last dive to have a seal come up their DSMP Line with them and they were petting it at the surface and it stayed with them back to the boat , what a way to finish a dive. Unfortunately that’s the diving finished, over 100 dives completed successfully and everybody has had a good time , I hope! We were very lucky with the weather, over a week and no rain (only at night ). Everybody remarked how good the caravans and the amenities around the camp were, and the swimming pool and health club was well used especially by the girls. Some had massages and beauty treatments , ( I couldn’t see any difference afterwards myself and would have asked for my money back ). On return to the harbour there was a RNLI day on with a helicopter and rescue display just outside the harbour wall going on and a exhibition in the life boat shed. Some went shopping, some went off home and some went to the Ship for a very long dive de-brief . Duncan was there from the dive boat to helpfully assist again, especially the girls (Sandra and Jackie) as he had been all weekend. I had a few medicinal Guinness’s to settle my stomach and Bret went back to his weekend favourite of Draught Becks, before interviewing a couple of local beauty queens about their immediate future. This session went onto the early evening and our intended swim didn’t happen and we had to settle for a quick five minute shower and turn round before going out for the last night team meal at Seafields Restaurant , where the food was excellent, Esma’s arm wrestling competition over the table was a sight to behold ( I would have loved to see the risk assessment for that) and it brought a large crowd of big boys to watch whilst the little boys played under the tables( Aaron, Joel and Danny) with no ﾒscary John ﾒ to worry about. The evening was finished off with Brian getting the champagne in ( probably to celebrate bringing some of his kit back from the dive) Thanks again Brian. Irish coffee’s to finish , some of the girls wanted to go back to Duncan’s and test his hospitality out further but some of us older wiser members resisted.
Tuesday and early return home for most, some stayed in caravans for the rest of the week as the weather was still good and it only cost another fifteen for three days to keep the caravans open. Lots of kissing good-byes, won’t see each other for at least two days until club on Thursday evening. Nice to see some of the not often seen members Katy and Bo and thanks to Stella for organising group meals, Bret for marshalling and Rob for organising tank fills and to all caravan monitors. Plus everybody for mucking in with loading tanks kit and filling in dive sheets and generally making a successful weekend. Fifth time up there and its always a good one.